Use of Virtual, Distributed Resources

While use of physical resources and activities in specific locations is required for what is envisioned as being the full Space College educational experience, a substantial portion will be done remotely using online courses, web conferencing, and other Internet modes of interaction. Space College will strive to be at the forefront of all modes of social networking and remote collaboration and will seek to help push the boundaries whereby such tools are used on Earth and, in space, and on other worlds. Given that telepresence has a strong potential application, Space College will make use of it whenever possible.

One of the core tenets of Space College is that it makes use of distributed resources wherever possible. While there is an element of cost savings to be realized that is not the only reason to do so. By using things that already exist, funds raised by Space College can be used to create the things that do not yet exist - and need to exist. Using Internet technologies coupled with an increasingly web-centric culture among students will allow the bricks and mortar assets to be used more efficiently. It will also make many more of them available on an as-needed basis far away from Space College itself - even off-world.

Given the basic fact that space exploration either involves sending people and things to distant locations and interacting with them at great distances from Earth - or the reciprocal, going to these places with tools and then interacting with Earth, such virtual and dispersed interactions serve a purpose inherent in how space exploration is conducted in the first place. Moreover, with globalization, virtualization on Earth already driving many of our interactions, it is a certainty that this trend will continue and will persist as we expand to off-world locations. This is one research venue where Space College activities can have broad applicability outside the space sector.

An online community along the lines of Facebook (with full connectivity and interaction with popular social media sites) will be established as part of the online or virtual component of Space College. While some Space College participants will be part of the full program, others may not be but wish to be. While cutting edge IT will be used, a significant the human component will be used to maintain quality, enforce good behavior, and seek to improve the system.

While open to anyone mechanism will be put into place to prevent or minimize spam and other disruptive behavior. While all participants will be encouraged to use common social networking systems to interact and to share their experiences, this online community will be tailored so as to enhance that public interaction by augmenting it with tools and other resources that will allow the greatest possible social interaction in all aspects of Space College's activities. Ideally someone at a remote arctic research base, an Internet cafe in Kathmandu, an office at NASA, and a home in suburban Sydney will all be able to interact with one another so as to share experience and solicit advice and collaboration.

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